by Sher Zieve, ©2019

(Sep. 11, 2019) — This will be short and to the point.  As most of us know, since well before the 2016 elections CNN has been broadcasting not only extraordinarily negative news concerning President Donald J. Trump but, stories about him that are intentionally misleading and those that are patently false.  However, its latest expedition into the CNN fake news genre has taken us into depths that even CNN employees had never before reached and, perhaps, hadn’t realized possible…even for their non-stellar cast of characters.

Apparently, another member of the Obama Administration, Jim Sciutto, who landed the position of  “Chief National Security Correspondent” at the now-discredited-by-intelligent-humans Cable News Network, placed not only President Trump in jeopardy but, put a (former) US double agent in extreme danger by divulging information about him that led to people finding out his name and address.  This has placed the agent and his family in extreme danger from Russia.  Mr. Putin’s enemies seem to eerily die when in his disfavor.

Responding to Sciutto’s false reporting, CIA Director for Public Affairs Brittany Bramell blasted CNN’s report with: “CNN’s narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency makes life-or-death decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is simply false. Misguided speculation that the President’s handling of our nation’s most sensitive intelligence—which he has access to each and every day—drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate.”  Sciutto’s fake news also led to multiple other outlets who reported on it—giving Sciutto credit and almost all of the CNN anchors—and at least one from ‘we know who’ at MSNBC—reported on this “horror” of “it’s all Trump’s fault” and continued to excitedly broadcast the lie…the BIG lie…until it was finally stopped via the truth coming out.

As I view it, the questions now are 1) Will CNN ever be held liable for its lies? and  2) Does the FCC allow this sort of behavior?  Well, I don’t know if CNN will be held liable but, considering its deterioration into the dark recesses of specious reporting it most certainly should be held accountable.  However, with regards to the FCC, interestingly enough they do not (on paper) permit false information to be broadcast over the public airways.  The FCC writes:

“The FCC occasionally receives complaints regarding allegedly false information aired on TV or radio. The FCC reviews all complaints for possible violation of its rules, which are narrow in scope.”

Broadcasting false information that causes substantial ‘public harm’

The FCC prohibits broadcasting false information about a crime or a catastrophe if the broadcaster knows the information is false and will cause substantial “public harm” if aired.

FCC rules specifically say that “the public harm: must begin immediately and cause direct and actual damage to property or the health or safety of the general public; or divert law enforcement or public health and safety authorities from their duties.”

Broadcasters may air disclaimers that clearly characterize programming as fiction to avoid violating FCC rules about public harm.

Broadcasting false content during news programming

The FCC is prohibited by law from engaging in censorship or infringing on First Amendment rights of the press. It is, however, illegal for broadcasters to intentionally distort the news, and the FCC may act on complaints if there is documented evidence of such behavior from persons with direct personal knowledge.

Will our Federal Communications Commission live up to its charter?  I suspect we now have yet another “wait and see” scenario at hand.

“Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness”—Exodus 23: 1

Exclusive: US extracted top spy from inside Russia in 2017:  https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/09/politics/russia-us-spy-extracted/index.html

CNN’s Jim Sciutto under fire for ‘simply false,’ ‘incredibly premature’ anti-Trump report condemned by CIA, White House:  https://www.foxnews.com/media/cnn-jim-sciutto-cia

CIA reportedly removed top spy from Russia over fear of retaliation — and maybe Trump:  https://www.vox.com/2019/9/9/20856915/cnn-trump-russia-spy-putin-cia

FCC on Broadcasting False Information:    https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/broadcasting-false-information

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  1. During the 2004 election cycle, the DNC and Kerry campaign not only petitioned the FCC to suspend Sinclair Broadcasting’s license but also the FEC to revoke the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth status as a tax-exempt organization. They also sued the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in civil court for libel and slander. All failed.

  2. Dear David:

    The Federal Communications Commission first established rules in 1965 for cable systems which received signals by microwave antennas. In 1966, the Commission established rules for all cable systems (whether or not served by microwave). The Supreme Court affirmed the Commission’s jurisdiction over cable in United States v. Southwestern Cable Co. Opens a New Window. , 392 U.S. 157 (1968). The Court ruled that “the Commission has reasonably concluded that regulatory authority over CATV is imperative if it is to perform with appropriate effectiveness certain of its responsibilities.” The Court found the Commission needed authority over cable systems to assure the preservation of local broadcast service and to effect an equitable distribution of broadcast services among the various regions of the country.

    In 1972, new rules regarding cable television became effective. These rules required cable television operators to obtain a certificate of compliance from the Commission prior to operating a cable television system or adding a television broadcast signal. The rules applicable to cable operators fell into several broad subject areas — franchise standards, signal carriage, network program nonduplication and syndicated program exclusivity, nonbroadcast or cablecasting services, cross-ownership, equal employment opportunity, and technical standards. Cable television operators who originated programming were subject to equal time, sponsorship identification and other provisions similar to rules applicable to broadcasters. Cable operators were also required to maintain certain records and to file annual reports with the Commission concerning general statistics, employment, and finances.

    In succeeding years, the Commission modified or eliminated many of the rules. Among the more significant actions, the Commission deleted most of the franchise standards in 1977, substituted a registration process for the certificate of compliance application process in 1978, and eliminated the distant signal carriage restrictions and syndicated program exclusivity rules in 1980. In 1983, the Commission deleted its requirement that cable operators file financial information. In addition, court actions led to the deletion of pay cable programming rules in 1977.

    More at site…


  3. CNN is a CABLE NETWORK, NOT a TV station. They do not carry a broadcasting license for the simple fact that their signal is not transmitted over public airwaves.
    The FCC rules you cite in your article only apply to BROADCAST stations or broadcasters in general, and again, CNN does not BROADCAST their signal and are therefore not subject to FCC regulations